15. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Lirael by Garth Nix, 487 pages, read by Kira, on 12/10/2014

index    lirael 2This is the 2nd book in the Sabriel trilogy.  It picks up 14 years after Sabriel killed Kerigor and takes the viewpoints of Sabriel’s son, Prince Sameth, the Abhorsen-in-waiting, and of Lirael a daugher of the Clayr who are able to see into the future.  We meet Lirael at age 14 long after most Clayr have obtained the “Sight”, who has given up hope that she will ever become a ‘normal’ Farseer, like the rest of her community.  Lirael eventually becomes a librarian (and what a kick-butt occupation this is in this world), and has adventurous encounters in the library with her newly acquired magical companion “the Disreputable Dog”.  At the same time Prince Sameth tries to study the Book of the Dead in order to master the bells, to help his mother and eventually to become the Abhorsen.  However, he experiences panic attacks when he tries to interact with the book.  Eventually the 2 characters 3e091473a6324c21a9932889449091b6cross paths.  Their interactions are delightful.  Some of the index2surprises were easy to foresee, but I found this a very enjoyable read.  Beware,it ends 91GqNS1Oc2L._SL1500_on a cliffhanger.

rock breaks rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock-stein-schere-papier-eidechse-echse-the-big-bang-theory RANTBLEimages outguessing machine Even when people try to be unpredictable, they usually fall into patterns.  William Poundstone shows readers how to make the best odds for yourself, whether this be a game of rock/paper/scissors, gambling, fixing the books, or investing in the stock market.  Poundstone writes in an engaging and accessible style.

05. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue Book 3 of the Raven Boys Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, 391 pages, read by Kira, on 12/01/2014

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Maggie Stiefvater hits another out of the stadium!  Wow, this book is so much better than the last title I read by Stiefvater – that being Sinner.  Stiefvater creates so much atmosphere and the setting itself is sort of alive.

Blue’s mother, Maura, is missing, she went underground looking for Artemis (Blue’s father), but hasn’t returned for weeks.  The Professor from Britain, whom Gansey studied with, has joined the boys on their hu
nt for Glendower.  Gray Man’s boss, Greenmantle comes to town, along with his wife Piper, looking for vengeance against Gray abandoning the job he was supposed to complete for him (in the last book).  Adam and Ronan work together on a project.  And where is Neve?

I thought this might be the conclusion to the series, however, the epilogue lets you know differently.  I’m so glad there will be more to this series!

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30. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

Made for You by Melissa Marr, 368 pages, read by Kira, on 11/24/2014

index4I have loved Melissa Marr’s fairy series (Wicked Lovely) and I really liked Graveminder.  This title had a lot of potential, the protagonist is now able to experience other people’s deaths by touching them.  This happens after she almost dies in a car crash, a crash the police suspect may have been an intentional attempt to kill her.She winds up in the hospital quite disfigured.

Then her boyfriend who stood her up, and thus led to her walking home at dusk, doesn’t come visit.  At first she is relieved, but then she starts to wonder, when there is No word from him at all.  Then the killer starts targeting her acquaintances, and then her friends.  Some of the chapters  are narrated by the killer, and you get to see into his twisted mind, he believes he is getting messages from God to purify her, that she was “made for him”.  I kept on waiting for her to find out about the murders he committed.  Afterwards, some part of my mind felt the need to turn the news on, to see if any further kills had been announced – it was a bit disturbing.  I am Not fond of such high tension/suspense.  So though it was an engaging read, I will be more careful in selecting books from Marrs.  If you like thrillers though, you’ll probably like this one.

29. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags: ,

Stink Outside the Box : Life Advice from Kitty by Jeremy Greenberg, 64 pages, read by Kira, on 11/28/2014

510iuVLaHpL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Cute tongue and cheek life counseling from kitties who’ve been there and learned from it – coming back to you with philosophy.  The first advice actually made me laugh out loud, it had a little bite of snark in it.  The rest of the advice was a little bit tamer,  still funny, but not as big of laughs.81iWw40m0LL

28. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags: , ,

Dragon Champion Bk 1 in the Age of Fire series. by E. E. Knight, 371 pages, read by Kira, on 11/27/2014

632579In this first book of the series, we get the viewpoint of AuRon, the clutchwinner (male dragon hatchling who wins the fight after the male eggs hatch).  AuRon is a grey dragon, and unusual because he lacks scales.  This is his tale from the eggshelf, the death of his parents, his capture by humans, dwarves, elves, his escape, then journey across the mountains, his tenure/apprenticeship with NooMoahk one of oldest surviving dragons, and AuRon’s revenge on the human’s who are enslaving dragons and wiping out the other species of hominids.  This is a fast moving tale with adventure, battles, skirmishes, and an extended apprenticeship with the great black Dragon NooMoahk (I find I usually really enjoy these periods of scholarship in fantasy books).  I enjoyed learning more background about this dragon family.  I also really liked how the author depicted weaknesses that could be turned into strengths (AuRon’s lack of scales).  I also enjoyed being introduced to character’s early on in the book, and then meeting them in their changed (mostly for the better) adult forms later on.  index2LineoftheSiblings2

28. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

The Journey - Guardians of Gahoole Bk 2 by Kathryn Lasky, 244 pages, read by Kira, on 11/23/2014

index Soren and his band of owls, search for and find the Island of Hoole with the great Ga’Hoole Tree.  This is a institution of learning similar to Hogwarts.   Here they are divided into different “chaws” or teams that learn a specific skill.  Soren and talkative Otolisa  are placed in the colliering and weather in a chaw where they learn to transport hot coals to use in the smithy.  Evenutally, a bunch of downed owls are discovered brought home to the GaHool tree among them is Soren’s sister Eglantine.  These downed owls are in some weird mental state, that is disrupted with mirrors.    I read this in disjointed bits and pieces over an extended period of time, thus I don’t have a great feel for how good of a read it really is.

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28. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan, 320 pages, read by Kira, on 11/16/2014

51LMS-eZloL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This selkie tale (tail) is told from a couple of perspectives.  The intro shows the young boys gathering clams (or something like clams) for the dinner table and introduces us to the scary witch  on the beach Misskaella, who is the main character.  Then perspective shifts back to the young girl Misskaella as she grows up and is treated poorly by her family and the island’s populace because she is different, because she has a gift with the seals.  She takes her revenge by creating selkie brides for the male populace.  She becomes the richest most powerful person in town.  She can transform male seals into human lovers (for a time).  We feel sorry for Misskaella and then angry that she could be so cruel.  This was a very engaging read, something of a downer, though the island returns to normal at the tales end.
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27. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks, 309 pages, read by Kira, on 11/22/2014

81617This is a fast-paced urban fantasy novel with romance thrown in.  The protagonist Lily Yu is a detective investigating a murder that appears to have been committed by a werewolf. Or is someone framing the Lupi and planning to wipe them from the face of the earth.  The romance aspect was fine and didn’t annoy me too much.   I look forward to the next title in the series.

 

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16. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, 314 pages, read by Kira, on 11/14/2014

Witch_and_Wizard_CoverA fantasy novel by one of the most popular (if Not the MOST popular author – I think he has the broadest appeal).  I’d had such good luck with David Baldacci, and Nora Roberts.  Well this time I struck out.  There was way more freaking out than was necessary and also too much immediate foreshadowing “my next decision was stupid, and unfortunately, so was my next”.  I would think someone like Patterson would be good at straight out telling a story, without so much dancing around with the thoughts of the main characters.  Basically two teens wake up in the middle of the night and are taken to jail, after a new order has been elected into office.  Oh, yeah, and they both apparently have major powers, which their parents explained to them, except they weren’t listening.

14. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Cats, Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags: , ,

A Cat's Christmas by Stefanie Samek, 180 pages, read by Kira, on 11/10/2014

index Looking for a simple gift for a cat lover? This is a sweet get-yourself-in-the-mood-for-Christmas book for Cat-lovers.  It is a book featuring Christmas recipes, Christmas tips, Christmas songs, all sorts of Christmasy is both humor here as well as stories traditional Christmas tales told from Cat standpoint.  The humor was gentle and clever, not the loud guffaw and bust your gut type of humor, but genial and endearing.  I was impressed at how continually Samek was able to riff on the cat humor, finding all sorts
of puns and ways to have fun.  This book includes feline versions of Christmas Carols, treats and goodies for cats, a cats version of the poem The Night Before Christmas, as well as Dicken’s A Christmas Carol for cats (eg Bob Scratchit).  Some of the ideas really did seem plausible and I wondered if she thought readers might take her up on some of the suggestions.

13. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

The Capture by Kathryn Lasky, 222 pages, read by Kira, on 11/04/2014

gallery_owl_galleryRecommended by one of our regular teen readers years ago, I now have the opportunity to read this series.  The Capture starts with the protagonist, newly-hatched owlet named, Soren, spending a few weeks in the nest, before his elder clutch-mate Klud, pushes him over the edge (reminiscent of E. E. Knights Dragon series).  From there he gets captured by an evil group of owls, who snatch baby owls, and imprisoned at the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls.  Here Soren meets Gylfie a tiny elf owl, and the two attempt to withstand the brainwashing the academy imposes.

 


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12. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags: , ,

Cat love letters by Leigh W. Rutledge , 112 pages, read by Kira, on 11/12/2014

This delightful book features collected correspondence between pairs of cats.  Some of these cats are falling in love, some are having spats, some are desperately searching for their loved ones, atypical relationshipsindex 10-titanic-new-version-lolcats column_021_demotivational-cats perfectly-timed-photos-29    – a wide variety of relationships Ian Wilkinson, from Peterborough, UK who has recieved letters from Royal Mail claiming his three-year-old cat Snowball has attacked the postmanIMG_0930 Dear Kitty Paware  images3  9a5d5e3227147d312c34b494b8f09fb4 thumb  imagesfeindex2cat_1751089catured.  Some were sweet, some were funny.  Another treat by Leigh Rutle????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????dge.

12. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Clariel: the Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix, 382 pages, read by Kira, on 11/08/2014

index2In this prequel to the Sabriel series, protagonist Clariel, is forced to move to the city of Belisaire with her parents.  Her mother is moving to the capital, because it provides better opportunities for her work as a goldsmith.  Clariel hates being cooped up in the city – and is desperate to escape.  She is subjected to having to act properly, and decide whether or not to step into the political machinations.  There is a very funny scene at her first class at the academy – the subject “drinking tea”, where all sorts of etiquette and protocols are to be observed, where the instructor struggles in vain to rein his 5 students in. Throughout the novel, Clariel struggles with doing the right thing versus escaping and gaining her own freedom.  Returning readers will be delighted that Moggett the sarcastic cat-like creature has an extended role.

 

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Fiction, Kira · Tags:

Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech, 176 pages, read by Kira, on 11/02/2014

love_that_dog 977108e4e010f1d5b4be4dcc31a63c02 creechI love Sharon Creech’s work (Walk Two Moons is my fav).  So when I saw she had a book about CATS, I had to read it.  Apparently, this book is a sequel to Love that Dog.  In this book, the protagonist Jack is still mourning the loss of his dog and Not ready for a new pet, and is still in Miss Stretchberry’s  poetry class.  Miss Stretchberry is a wonderful teacher, I really wish I’d had such a good literature teacher poetry or what-not or any sort.  She makes the poetry come alive, even for me in this short book.   I guess I will have to take an online  class on poetry.  She explains what makes the poetry work, and she is very encouraging of Jack.   Eventually, when the black kitten disappears he realizes he does like the cat.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags:

The Scarlet Pimpernel. by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 306 pages, read by Kira, on 10/31/2014

scarlet-pimpernel-cover - Copy n87614 - CopyThe Scarlet Pimpernel is the original Zorro, a foppish aristocrat, who in reality rescues French scarlet_pimpernel_600 - Copyindex - Copyscarlet-pimpernel-drawing - Copyaristocrats from the guillotine and excesses of the French Revolution (seen here at its worst).  After the excesses, the story moves into how the Scarlet Pimpernel has pulled of some quite daring rescues, tweaking the noses of the brutal French guards.  Then it moves into the love story/romance between Marguarite and her husband.  I dislike how far in debt, Margaurite is to her husband, and how high/large his forgiveness needs to be, to reconcile the couple.  Then back to more adventure.  Though really the quick thing to do, would be to incapacitate Chauvelin.  It is an old book and the treatment of women shows the misogynistic flaws of the time.  The “smartest” woman in Europe, remains clueless about her husband’s masquerades throughout (my husband noted this). Fun, but could use some updating.

05. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Memoirs · Tags: , ,

Haatchi & Little B: the Inspiring True Story of one Boy and his Dog by Wendy Holden, 224 pages, read by Kira, on 11/01/2014

81LTSYB7-zL._SL1500_So I was looking for a the animal’s point of view story preferably a cat story.  What I found on our ebook listing was this dog story and Not from the dog’s point of view.  It is a story about lives who deal with disability and how the dog helps the little boy.  Owen the young boy was born with a rare genetic abnormality called Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome.  This syndrome shortens and tightens all his muscles limiting his mobility in the extreme.

Haatchi the dog, had been tied to train tracks and run over, consequently missing his tail and one of his rear legs.
haatchi-640x360 owen-haatchi Both need lots of special attention, physical therapy.  Owen had been withdrawing into himself, as he noticed his difference from fellow kids.  Haatchi brought him out of his shell, and 571151-24ab88ee-982c-11e3-ae2a-c06439f32ae2allowed him to blossom.  Haatchi won all sorts of awards it seemed almost improbably, but I guess, the grand prize has to go to someone.

Haatchi’s presence helped the fundraising effort for Owen’s new wheelchair.  It ends with a short glossary of special words used by Owen with Haatchi.

30. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

The Finisher by by David Baldacci, 497 pages, read by Kira, on 10/29/2014

index2 I hadn’t read anything by popular author David Baldacci, so when I saw this book in my favorite genre I thought I’d give it a try.  This strategy paid off when I discovered Nora Roberts’ fantasy trilogy Morrigan’s Cross.  It is a very fast-paced read with a rather different world, some sort of apocalypse, I believe, with perhaps magic or maybe its technology.  Things are Not as they seem, it took me awhile to figure out how this universe/world worked.  The main character Vega Jane (an orphan of course) sees her coworker being chased by tracking hounds followed by the City Council members.  Her friend is headed into the Quag – wherein there are only monsters and no sane member ventures into.  Yet things are Not as they seem.  Vega Jane’s transformation seemed a lot more believable than a number of heroes, I’m Not sure why.  I cannot wait for the sequels!

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26. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kira · Tags: ,

Black Beauty: the Autobiography of a Horse by Anna Sewell, 301 pages, read by Kira, on 10/26/2014

black_beauty  black-beauty-ladybird-book-children-s-classic-series-740-gloss-hardback-1986-1445-p  imagesBlack-Beauty-02-800x587blbeaut 902078-M 054677Although Beauty’s life starts out soft and sweet, you know abuse by humans is coming down the pike.

There is a lot of moralizing.  Moralizing of a sort that I agree with, we should Not abuse horses, nor other animals.  And I think showing kindness to other humans is a standard by which we ought to judge others (if we are going to judge them at all).  But I am surprised that this is a classic, it might as well have been titled, 50 ways Not to abuse horses.  That said given the great positive influence this title has had on the treatment of horses and animals, I am glad of its impact.  Plus the story had a happy ending.

23. October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Fiction, Humor, Kira · Tags:

Grumpy cat : a grumpy book / by Grumpy Cat. by Grumpy Cat: a Grumpy Book., 96 pages, read by Kira, on 10/21/2014

gcbook-225x300 Here we learn where Grumpy Cat lives (in Arizona), what his first words were “No”, “Good”, and how he likes the desert.  Full of the humor you’ve come to know and love, Grumpy Cat spreads his warm fuzzies around.